Virginia Del. Steve Landes (R) hails from an overwhelmingly “red” district, is an active member of the infamous, privatize-everything, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He’s also about as hard-right as you can get, according to Project Vote Smart.
So, it’s not surprising that Landes is on a crusade against Medicaid expansion, even if it means making blatantly false, absurd and/or over-the-top statements. For instance, last year Landes ridiculously – and falsely – asserted that Medicaid expansion “relies on the false promise of free federal money and creates a new welfare entitlement system for able-bodied working adults.” Of course, it’s actually OUR money, and it’s not a “new” anything, but whatever….details details. I just wish that PolitiFact had rated that whopper like they rated his latest doozy:
Landes, in a constituent survey, said Medicaid expansion “could cost the Commonwealth of Virginia over $1 billion per year.”
That contradicts the latest estimates on expansion. Virginia’s gross cost in 2022 – the furthest out the projections go – would be $324 million. The net cost, after taking into account a variety of savings the expansion offers, would be $3.1 million. That’s light years away from Landes’ figure.
Landes’ estimate rests on the eye-popping supposition that the federal government could decide in the future to cut nearly half of its commitment to pay 90 percent of the costs for expansion, leaving states holding the bag. But this is pure speculation of his part. There’s no effort in Congress now to cut the federal share at all, let alone by the proportion Landes suggests.
There’s a burden on Landes to prove his statement with facts, and he comes up short. We rate his claim False.
Note, by the way, that PolitiFact actually went easy on Landes here, by claiming his false charges were simply based on a “shaky assumption.” This is more like a 10.0 earthquake on the Richter Scale level of “shaky,” followed by a tsunami perhaps. It’s also got to be intentional by Landes and others who oppose Medicaid expansion; I mean, nobody can actually believe what Landes says is factually correct, right?
To wit: every reputable analysis has found that Medicaid expansion makes sense for Virginia and other states, while failing to do so is a huge mistake. For instance, the respected Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that “States with Medicaid Expansion Experienced Declines in Uninsured Hospital Discharges.” The Urban Institute found that states refusing to expand Medicaid “are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, which will lessen economic activity and job growth. Hospitals in these 24 states are also slated to lose a $167.8 billion (31 percent) boost in Medicaid
funding that was originally intended to offset major cuts to their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.” The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concluded that states choosing to expand Medicaid have seen “Significant Budget Savings and Revenue Gains,” as well as “gains in coverage, reduction in the number of uninsured and uncompensated care
costs, and job creation.” Virginia’s respected Commonwealth Institute found that “expanding Medicaid can pay for itself and provide coverage to nearly 400,000 uninsured Virginians.”
We could go on all day here, but you get the idea. But wait, you say, there must have been studies showing bad things happening due to Medicaid expansion? Well, not really, unless you count the Koch-funded/Jim Demint-led Heritage Foundation, or the garbage spewed out by the far-right, Koch-funded “Thomas Jefferson Institute.” Uhhhh…no, didn’t think so.
Meanwhile, as Virginia suffers due to the refusal by Republicans to expand Medicaid, keep in mind that Virginia’s Rural Hospitals in Serious Jeopardy Without Prompt State Policy Action and New Data Show Virginia’s Hospitals Continue to Face Financial Challenges.”
Bottom line: there’s no serious argument against expanding Medicaid in Virginia, only false talking points churned out by ALEC, the Koch brothers, and politicians like Steve Landes who do those folks’ bidding.